What Is FOGcon?
Friends of the Genre (FOGcon) is a literary-themed San Francisco Bay Area SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon. Each year we focus on a new theme in speculative fiction and invite Honored Guests ranging from writers to scientists to artists. We build community, exchange ideas, and share our love for the literature of imagination.
FOGcon started as a project done jointly by Friends of Genre and the Speculative Literature Foundation. In 2014, FOGcon secured its independent status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
The definition is “genre” in fiction is as loose and baggy as the form of the novel. It can refer to setting (Western), intended audience (children’s or young adult fiction), subject (murder mystery), writing style (literary fiction), time period (historical fiction), or emotion evoked (horror, romance). Every genre has its own rules, traditions, ideas, and stock characters that the reader will expect to find. The reader enjoys the author’s skill in combining the familiar elements of the form with fresh ideas, unexpected twists, unusual insights, and evocative language.
All these and many more genres of modern prose fiction fall into two basic categories:
Realistic fiction, which places (usually) imaginary characters in recognizably true-to-life settings.
Speculative fiction, which places its characters in settings that are in some way counterfactual, and that difference from what we usually call “real life” is the driving engine of the plot. Perhaps all but one of a world’s unicorns have disappeared. Perhaps there’s a planet where human beings are almost all hermaphrodites. Perhaps the Roman empire is still going strong in the fifteenth century. What happens then?
Speculative fiction, what we are calling the Literature of the Imagination, answers that question, and in exploring small differences illuminates our common humanity.
Honored Guests: Becky Chambers, Karen Joy Fowler
Honored Ghost: Ursula K. Le Guin
Theme: Performance in SF&F
Honored Guests: Andrea Hairston, Ada Palmer
Honored Ghost: Thomas M. Disch
Theme: Interstitial Spaces
Honored Guests: Delia Sherman, Ayize Jama-Everett
Honored Ghost: Iain Banks
Honored Guests: Jo Walton, Ted Chiang, Donna Haraway
Honored Ghost: Octavia Butler
Theme: The Traveler
Honored Guests: Kim Stanley Robinson, Catherynne M. Valente
Honored Ghost: Joanna Russ
Honored Guests: Seanan McGuire, Tim Powers
Honored Ghost: James Tiptree, Jr.
Theme: Law, Order, and Crime
Honored Guests: Terry Bisson, Susan R. Matthews
Honored Ghost: Anthony Boucher
Theme: The Body
Honored Guests: Nalo Hopkinson, Shelley Jackson
Honored Ghost: Mary Shelley
Theme: The City in SF/F
Honored Guests: Pat Murphy, Jeff VanderMeer, Ann VanderMeer
Honored Ghost: Fritz Leiber